Enrollment now open for the 2022 session of the Modjeska Simkins School for Human Rights

“It must be conceded that at this very hour, more so than at any time in the history of this nation, there is urgent need for the development of progressive thinkers to become the leaders of tomorrow.”

Modjeska Monteith Simkins wrote this in a 1946 announcement for the upcoming Leadership Training School at Harbison Junior College in Irmo under the auspices of the Southern Negro Youth Congress.

Some 70 years later, the Modjeska School curriculum and sense of urgency is much the same. Continuing in the tradition of Simkins’ school, the South Carolina Progressive Network launched the Modjeska Simkins School for Human Rights in 2015 to educate and mobilize emerging social and political activists.

The 13 classes include a people’s history of South Carolina designed to provide a framework for understanding current political, economic and social conditions, and to inform ongoing work. The intent is to graduate effective citizens who can improve the quality of life in South Carolina and enrich their own lives in the process.

The entire session this year will be held on Zoom, and students can join from the comfort of their homes or offices. Breakout rooms will help make the classes as interactive as the online format permits.

The lead instructor, Dr. Robert Greene II, is an associate history professor at Claflin University in Orangeburg. Green took his doctorate at University of South Carolina, has published more than 350 articles and is a nationally respected civil rights historian in South Carolina. In the four years he has led, students have been unrestrained in their praise of his talents as a teacher.

Beyond the regular classes, students are offered Deeper Dives, a closer look at key people and events in South Carolina’s history of resistance. The Sunday Seminars are similar, but are open to the public. This session’s guests include Dr. Vernon Burton, whose book “Lincoln’s Unfinished Work” was nominated for a Pulitzer and was a multiple Book of the Month recommendation.

On Sunday, Feb. 20, students will meet each other and the faculty and staff from 4-6 p.m. The Modjeska House will be open prior to the welcome for a tour. At the orientation on Monday, Feb. 21, all will review the purpose of the school and view the SCETV documentary about Simkins. Classes and Deeper Dives start Feb. 28 and continue on Mondays through June 27.

Graduation will be held Saturday, July 2.

Dr. Tom Summers, a retired United Methodist minister and Modjeska School graduate, said, “I’ve been involved with the S.C. Progressive Network since its beginning, and this school is indeed one of the best products in their 26 years of fine work. For anyone interested in the historical and current struggle for racial conciliation in our state, I strongly recommend that they attend this unique school. I also urge every congregation to sponsor a student.”

Tuition is $350, with monthly payments and scholarship assistance available.

For details about the school, the class 2022 class schedule and application process, see

Questions? Call 803-808-3384 or email [email protected].

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